Some of the more well-known RPG tabletop systems would make enjoyable MMOs, with few having already made it to the massive multiplayer online role playing game arena (or simply MMOs). Games such as Dungeons & Dragons Online, Champions Online and more recently, Neverwinter, are based on actual tabletop rules. Mechwarrior Online, though a shooter MMO, reflects the rules of tabletop Battletech. There are a number of tabletop RPGs that should have made it into the MMO realm. Each one has a rich body of work to pull from and sustain an MMO incarnation with many expansion packs.
This tabletop RPG, created by Jordan Weisman and set in the mid-21st century, has all kinds of elements ripe for the pickings as an MMO: street samurai and mages, orcs and elves and mutants, and a backdrop of corporate warfare. Deckers can jack in and wage combat in the realm of cyberspace while being protected by fire-throwing mages and heavily cyberwared street samurai. Shadowrun has had several video games, one of them an online multiplayer which bombed badly. Steam has recently released a re-imagined version of the classic Sega Genesis 1994 RPG called Shadowrun Returns. Update: Shadowrun Online is currently in development and being crowdfunded.
Well, OK, there is a Mechwarrior Online, but in all honesty, it should have been called Battletech Online, because Mechwarrior Online would have been a true MMO, reflecting character development against the backdrop of the Succession Wars and later, the Clan Invasion. Or better yet, it should have been incorporated into a Mechwarrior MMO. Questing would involve battlemechs and out of ‘Mech action.
World of Darkness
The famed Vampire franchise put out by White Wolf Studios makes an excellent source for an MMO. The richly detailed world with its intricate character generation and—wait. What? There is a World of Darkness (WoD) currently in development by, of all companies, CCP, the makers of Eve Online. Though years away, if WoD reflects the level of detail in character models currently being demonstrated in the “Walking in Stations” portions of Eve, when finally released, the MMO will be truly breathtaking.
This is actually a video game franchise, but it deserves a stint as an MMO (and not just a game with multiplayer capabilities) simply because of the richness of the game world and characters.
The D20 Tabletop System
There could be problems here. The D20 system encompasses all genres. To be translated into an MMO, one of those genres, given how expensive it is to put out an MMO, would have to serve as source material. A good choice would be D20 Modern for some competition with The Secret World.
This set of tabletop rules by Marc Miller depicts as intricate a science fiction setting for an MMO as one could ever want. The sheer choice of character classes and abilities is enough to make a player’s head swim. Throw in the element of danger in the progression of the character at generation, and you add an element not seen in any MMO to date.
There are many more RPG tabletop systems that would make enjoyable MMOs, but these listed are readily recognized.
Opinion by Lee Birdine