“North“, “East“,”East“,”Kill Skeleton” – The online RPG has come along way since the days of MUD and whilst MUD’s are still popular (and are certainly a pastime I enjoy on occasion for protracted period), things have moved on somewhat. For the better? Thats for you to decide.
Probably the MMORG that has brought the concept into the main (and our vocabulary) would be World of Warcraft, its add on’s, its community and more importantly, the people that turn up to events dressed as their online character.
Readers of this blog will remember my bout with WOW early in 2009 where through the wonders of WINE I enjoyed the online game which is allegedly more addictive than heroin. I can report that its not and I easily resisted the urge to dress as a Murloch and jump out of the water at passer’s by or turn up as Daroou the Paladin at my local pub.
But this article is not about spending money on a subscription and here are four of my favorite Linux RPG’s which I think perfectly highlight that theres some great games to play on the Linux platform.
I also need to stress that all these games have native Linux versions. There is no using WINE or compiling src here!
This was one of the first titles I mentioned during the early days of Openbytes, a MMORG that offers complete freedom in your characters development. The system works similar to many traditional RPG’s, experience is earned to level and points can be used to improve your characters base skills be that to take them in the direction of fighter, magician, a combination of the two or something totally different. Eternal Lands is one of the most complete RPG’s Ive played and the same was true over a year ago when I first tried it. The game is popular and there is always a large presence of other users online to trade/fight/argue with.
Graphically the game is sharp and appealing to look at, additions to the GFX a while ago included skydomes and you don’t need a PC with the specs of Skynet to get a decent game out of it. The download is a binary that should have no problems with your distro, the online help is very good and the tutorials lead you by the hand whilst you find your feet within Eternal Lands.
The game is free, although special armor and weapons (and a horse) are accessable only as paid for content. When you look at the work that has gone into this product, the active community and the scope for developing a unique experience I have always considered Eternal Lands to be the most de-facto Linux RPG on the scene at the moment.
You can visit Eternal Lands here: http://www.eternal-lands.com/
I remember commenting a while ago that this sounded more like a BASH command rather than an RPG, that being said its another example of a polished title which gives the impression of being an off-shelf title. Regnum is an on-going development that allows the user to choose one of three realms to defend with a selection of Warrior, Archer or Mage which can be further diversified when you reach level 10. Graphically it puts me in mind of Morrowind – The Elder Scrolls somewhat.
Specs wise its requirements are quite low, I managed to get an AMD 1.8ghz machine running Regnum at a very decent frame rate with no trouble whatsoever.
Regnum is free however “extra’s” are available by way of paid content such as mounts and special items.
You can visit the homepage (and download the client) from here:
Somewhere in between a hack/slash and an RPG, Savage 2 is graphically impressive, especially when considering that its a free title. Its takes on a RTS flavor as well as allowing the user to control character in the third person view.
Graphically its probably the most advanced free rpg themed title, however that will discount any user of old hardware who is running Linux on older hardware. Theres nine classes on offer here and for the team leader (or commander) it is up to them to play the game in more of an RTS mode, whilst everyone else fills in the “boots on the ground” roles (which is arguably more fun)
Savage 2 is not the easiest of games to get into as its quite complex with its plethora of options, but users looking for a happy medium of Fable/Golden Axe/C&C could do worse than check out this title.
The fact that Savage 2 offers a native Linux version gives it more kudos and if you want to showcase Linux gaming then go no further than Savage 2!
You can visit the Savage 2 site here:
The site appears to have been touting Planeshift as a “tech demo” for quite some time. That doesn’t mean there is not fun to be had and at times Ive found a rather keen (and friendly community) around. It has 12 playable races and what is interesting about Planeshift is that it allows quite a complex background/history system that you can create for your character, of course you don’t need to get involved in this if you don’t want to and how these choices affect the game is something who has been playing Planeshift for longer than me will have to answer.
On the specs front, they are rather low and you can play the game with 1gb ram with rather attractive GFX options (even on my AMD 1.8 ghz test machine)
The main advantage of Planeshift is that it is open source, there are no costs or purchases and the future for the product looks promising – if only they could get of their “tech-demo” stage.
Planeshift would probably rank as number 2 in my choice of MMORG (after Eternal Lands)
You can visit the Planeshift homepage here:
Whilst not a Linux specific title, Runescape is a popular online RPG that is played through your brower. Runescape succeeds at many things, firstly it has a large and active community, secondly it has a character development system that will have you finding your feet within minutes. Where Runescape excels is allowing an RPG newcomer to get into the world of online without the numerous rules complexities of other MMORG’s. Don’t for one minute though think that you are in for an easy or simple game, but its obvious that the developers have spent much time making the game as accessable for everyone as possible. Paid for content provides extra features but the game can be enjoyed for free without the need to part with any cash.
Finally I have to mention MUD. The platform that started it all? Whatever the truth, it still has a following and a rather large, dedicated one at that. There are literally hundreds of MUD games out their and whilst its usually played in a terminal with text descriptions being your “GFX” its still fantastic fun if you are of the days of the tradition AD&D gaming. I mentioned earlier that I am partial to the odd game and that still holds true today, memories of playing a MUD whilst allegedly doing college work bring back happy memories. One of the things many MUD’s cater for which some of these GFX laden offering don’t is real complexity and customization of your character, for those who engaged in the AD&D will remember how important (and treasured) your stats were. For those interested in having a look at just how many MUD’s are out their (and reviews of the best ones) you could do worse than visit: http://www.mudconnect.com/
If you are interested in MUD, then I heartily recommend Aardwolf, Ive a character there myself. It has hundreds of users online and a friendly community…great stuff!
Next time you hear someone say that Linux is “no good for games” remind them of this small snapshot of what is available. There are many other great RPG’s available natively for Linux and whilst this article only covers RPG titles you will find that sims, fps’s et al have a range of titles equally as impressive. When you add the emulation scene in too, you can start to see how silly the “no good for games” is. True the latest GTA is not yet written with Linux in mind, but with the maturing of Wine, modern games are making it onto the Linux platform.
Who knows where this will lead in the future? Although “smug” Windows gamers might want to remain silent since the console market is looking far more desirable by the day for software houses hit with piracy and worries about their software being compatible with the multitude of PC hardware configurations out there. Add into that there are users who do not want to keep on top of the latest hardware just to play games and I think the more desirable market will increasingly be the console.
What ever happens in the future though, I don’t think it can be argued that Linux has a wealth of great RPG’s. The above are just a small selection and whilst being mindful of space I had to consider which ones I had the most exposure to. If you have any recommendations, please list them here, I’d be very interested.
Goblin – firstname.lastname@example.org