Prose & Pixels

Prose & Pixels #1: Books That Would Make The Best MMOs


After Asti’s recent post on trying new features, I was inspired to finally work on a feature I’ve been considering for a while, one that merges video games and books. So here it is, Prose & Pixels! It won’t be a regularly scheduled feature, but one that I post when I feel like it, rather like my discussion posts. My hope is that this new feature will allow me to combine my two loves: books and video games. I’ve spoken about video games quite a bit in the past, so surely they deserve their own feature on my blog. Before reading Asti’s post, I decided that maybe I shouldn’t post about video games – after all this is a book blog, and it might put some of my readers off. But after reading her post and thinking about it, I decided – why not? It’s MY blog, for my interests – and I’m still including books!

Today I want to discuss an idea I’ve been thinking of for a while: books that would make the best MMOs. I’ve even mocked up some ‘log in’ screens for these potential games.

I’m assuming that most of you know what MMOs are, but if not: they are massively multiplayer online games. Think World of Warcraft… I played MMOs for years, not so much recently but in the past. I’ve tried so many of them, and a couple of them I stuck with for several years (Maple Story, Dream of Mirror Online, Grand Fantasia, Eden Eternal and Lord of the Rings Online and more recently and casually, Neverwinter). I’m even still in contact with some of my old guild mates from seven years ago (my wonderful DOMO guild <3). Most MMOs are 'sandbox' games, meaning you can choose your own path and go anywhere at any time. There is no linear story you HAVE to follow at a given time. If you want to explore or craft, or just sit around and chat to people, you can. Imagine being able to do that in one of your favourite bookish worlds…

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


I think this is my most wanted book to MMO – the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. You could start off the game by touring through Diagon Alley and buying all the basics you need, before heading off to Hogwarts and being sorted. The houses could work like factions do in lots of games, duels would be a form of PvP (Player versus Player combat), and each level bracket (every ten levels perhaps) would advance you a school year, for a maximum level of 70. I guess the main issue would be PvE content (Player versus Enemy), but this could be done in a similar way to the console games that were released to accompany the series – lessons provide various beasties to fight. Or they could deviate from the original series and have students ‘protecting’ areas from attacks (dungeon runs)? However, I guess the main audience of this particular MMO would not be your typical hardcore MMORPG fan, but rather lots of Potter fans wanting to finally get their chance to attend Hogwarts. Basically, if a proper Hogwarts MMO existed (Pottermore was not quite what I wanted) I would never leave my room. So, er… maybe it’s for the best?

2. A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin

The World of Westeros

Maybe this one would be tricky, but an MMO of the series A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin would be AMAZING. I could imagine it either be an open-world fantasy game or more of a tower defense sort of game, but I’d prefer the former. You could swear allegiance to any of the major houses, which would affect where you start, who your enemies are and perhaps some ‘typical’ stats, e.g. Stark bannermen are more hardy, Lannister bannermen might have something that increases the gold they make or better mercantile skills, Baratheon bannermen could be more agile. Obviously within this world, magic classes wouldn’t fit too well as they’re pretty rare within Westeros, but all sorts of knights, warriors, rogues and archers would work. Perhaps an Elder Scrolls style ‘build your own class’, where you can choose from various skill trees.

3. The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld


The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld would make a great steampunk MMO. When making a character you’d have to choose whether you want to be a Darwinist or a Clanker. As in the series, choosing Darwinist will allow you to fly and ride genetically enhanced creatures, and choosing Clanker will allow you access to machines like Walkers. I guess the majority of this game would be PvP combat, perhaps it could be some sort of MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) on a huge scale. I imagine classes would matter less than the machines or creatures you use. And then I could finally have my own perspicacious loris!

4. The Demon Cycle series by Peter V. Brett

Demon Cycle

The Demon Cycle series by Peter V. Brett would work quite well as a tower-defense (or rather village-defense) game, in my opinion. Successfully defending hamlets, villages, towns and cities from demon attacks would grant experience, and the bigger the place you’re defending, the more you earn. Or for the really brave, there could be a ‘wilderness mode’ where you just go out and fight, with a small ward circle to help you, and it would be pretty perfect for guild fights. Perhaps there could even be a mode where you fight as a demon, like the PvP in Lord of the Rings Online where you fight as an orc or Uruk. As you level up you could learn different wards, and of course the series already has loads of different types of demons, some more challenging to fight than others.

There’s one other book I would nominate, my favourite book EVER, but it already has an MMO, and I played it for several years…

The Lord of the Rings Online

Isolde - LOTRO

Yep, J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastic The Lord of the Rings has an MMO, and it’s pretty astounding. I played it for 2-3 years but stopped because I’d made my way through all of the content too many times, and got a little bored with it. However, don’t let that put you off! Lord of the Rings Online is quite literally packed with tiny little details and references, the developers are clearly huge fans of Tolkien and have included so many things you won’t notice unless you look. You can find Gandalf’s rune carved into a rock on Weathertop, the stone trolls in the Trollshaws, buy a hobbit house (or elf, dwarf or man if you prefer), climb the flets of Lothlorien, sit and drink in the Green Dragon or the Prancing Pony (and many many other pubs), meet so many characters from the book including Tom Bombadil (his house is a beacon of hope in that HORRIBLE Old Forest map that is an actual maze). There’s a guide to hidden gems within the game, and I know there’s a thread on the forum somewhere where players have submitted all the wonderful lore references they’ve found, but I can’t seem to find the thread!

Oh, and that’s my hobbit hunter Isolde Bumblefoot above – I got her to level 85 before quitting. I also had a level 85 minstrel called Rinn Reede (har har har) who caused heart attacks during raids. Healing is TERRIFYING but also exhilarating. I had characters from most classes, but those were my two main ones.

What bookish worlds would you like to explore in an MMO? What do you think of my choices – do you have any suggestions on how they could work?

40 thoughts on “Prose & Pixels #1: Books That Would Make The Best MMOs”

  1. Harry Potter as MMO would be amazing. I love everything that has to do with HP and I’m also a gamer, so combining those two would be great 😀 Game of thrones would be more difficult I think, but if someone would come up with a way to make that work, I’d be ready to give it a shot!

    Very fun feature, I can’t wait for the next edition!

    1. Wouldn’t it? Pottermore was SUCH a letdown. I mean I knew it wasn’t going to be some proper 3D game but I was hoping it would feel like an MMO of sorts. But nope… I got stuck on making some potion and gave up. 😦

      Yeah, a GoT MMO would be HUGE. That’s why I did think about the defence option, but a sandbox game would be way more fun. Although they got away with it for Lord of the Rings, and Westeros is probably just as huge as Middle-earth. The easiest path is probably to steer the player away from the main story I suppose – which isn’t as fun, but at least you’d still get to explore Westeros! 😮

      Thanks Mel 😀

  2. There was actually talk of a Harry Potter MMO being made, but they only recently announced that it was put on hold indefinitely. Well, there’s always Wizard 101! Which is actually a pretty good MMO even if it’s for kids, but like you pointed out, a HP MMO would be very casual anyway.

    There’s also a GoT MMO being made (Seven Kingdoms) based more on the show than on the books – but for like two years now it’s been “in development” and it’s going to be browser-based, I believe. Yeah, not for me 😦

    1. Nooooooo I didn’t know this! That makes me sad 😦 Well maybe Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them will spark the interest?

      I didn’t know that either. Browser based… nah :/ That always makes me think of those crappy Facebook games where you can only do so many things every 12 hours or whatever, and if you want to do more you have to pay real money. Blech.

  3. Wizards 101 was good? I always wondered.

    Of yours I could see Leviathan being quite cool, a WW1 game with his steampunk twist? If it want YA I think it would make a good Battlefield type game as well.

    1. I do actually remember briefly trying Wizards 101, but didn’t play enough of it to make a proper judgement I guess.

      Yes, it could work that way! That’s a WW1 game I would play 🙂

  4. Good choices. I imagine there is some gaming done already in the Harry Potter and ASoIaF worlds. If I had to pick a few:
    The Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks
    The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson
    I’d also add The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, though that’d be far less action oriented than the other two.

    1. Well there’s the HP games based on the films, plus a Quidditch World Cup game and some spellbook thing for PS3. The closest you ever got to a sandbox version of Hogwarts was probably the Prisoner of Azkaban game to be honest – the rest were really linear.

      And then there’s a ASOIAF RPG, set way before the events of the series, as well as a strategy game, but no sandbox! 😦

      I would add The Mistborn series too, how amazing would Allomancy be?? 😀 Although I guess that would kind of defy the idea of Allomancers being rare… I did think of the Kingkiller Chronicles, but I’m not sure how that one would work.

    1. I know, right? They both have pretty amazing technologies. Imagine climbing the rigging on the Leviathan! 😀

      Also, is that Tohru Honda in your avatar?

      1. Yay! Fruits Basket was my first ever manga. It’s actually where I got the name Rinn from 😉

  5. This is such a cool new feature, I love it! 😀 The HP MMO sounds amazing. *_* I would have so much fun playing it.

    Ah, MMOs. The memories I have of them. Especially of the Ragnarok set, haha!

    1. Thanks Ana! 😀 If the HP MMO was real (and, you know, good) I would be a social outcast, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one. I think it might ruin our generation.

      I never played Ragnarok, but I was looking at it on Steam the other day 😛

      1. We clearly have the same thoughts as Hank Green then. 😉 Haha!

        Oh maaaan, I was a little video game newbie when I first ventured into Ragnarok. I even remember playing around on Maplestory too! Haha!

      2. HAHA! IT’S SO TRUE!

        Maplestory was the only MMO my old old PC could run for ages 😦 Then I got a new one and it (quite literally) opened up a new world 😀

  6. The Dark Tower Series would make a great video game. I’ve only read three of them but they are amazing!

  7. I guess something between Sandbox and Linear. There is lots of traveling which could be more open I guess but like when he goes through the doors in the second book that would have to be linear. They are worth a read, especially if you like Stephen King 🙂

    1. I’ll hopefully get to them eventually, but you know what my list is like 😛 I haven’t actually read all that much Stephen King.

  8. I love this new feature! Out of the ones you’ve listed, I’ve only read Harry Potter and GOT. That being said, I’d want to play them all! I know there is a GOT game on Facebook, but out of principle I never played it (something about Facebook games doesn’t sit with me). I’ve never played a MMO, but I love any games with magic systems in them.

    1. Yay! 😀 And yes, I believe there is – Game of Thrones Ascent or something? I know what you mean about FB games, there’s loads of them where you can only do certain things per day, then you have to pay or wait til the following day. There are other GoT games, but they’re set before the books and have had pretty negative reviews.

  9. This idea is so cool! I’d probably be the most obsessed with a Harry Potter MMO too – Pottermore was definitely a letdown – I want to be able to pretend I’m going to Hogwarts! I think it would be fun to explore an MMO world in the style of Bronte, or Austen or Dickens! Mostly because I would love to immerse myself in Victorian or Regency England.

    1. I reckon if they made a HP MMO then the book blogging community would go really silent. We’d all be logged into Hogwarts and chatting on here 😉

      I did find that Austen MMO… it was very strange. Also made by a couple of people and not at all funded, so obviously there was still a lot of work to do! Can’t remember what it was called now.

    1. I wish they would! Although if they then went and made a Harry Potter MMO whilst I was at university I would fail. Oops D:

  10. Not that I would play it, because the last thing I need right now is all-consuming hobby like MMO (based on heresay, I’ve never actually played one!), but it would be awesome if someone developed a MMO based on OASIS from Ready Player One.

    1. Oh trust me, they really are all-consuming. It’s dangerous. Especially when I played DOMO and LOTRO, I’d just log on for the sake of it, even if I had nothing to do. SUCH a time waster…

      That would be amazing! OASIS is so open. But it would definitely need the headset 😉

  11. I’m not really big on online games (I tend to stick to single-player games on the XBOX, ahah), but I AM a huge fan of video games, so again, this is a great feature! HP would definitely be on my list. Imagine being able to play around in Hogwarts along with other “real” people! It’d be like a dream-come-true. And gah, still need to read A GAME OF THRONES, which I’m hoping to get to soon, but judging by how popular both the book and TV series are, I think it’d be cool to battle against other houses. Heck, any fantasy game with houses and clans and battles are fun.

    The rest of the books you mentioned I’ve never read (or heard much about, heh), but oh my gosh, I never knew LotR had an MMO! Thanks for telling me about it! Maybe I’ll be able to play now that my finals are over and I’ve got more free time. Though I get bored pretty easily… which is what kind of happened when I started playing DotA and couldn’t level up fast enough to keep up with my enemies (I kept dying). But I still had a lot of fun, even if I stopped eventually.

    Love the sign-in pages you created, by the way. Makes them seem so possible. Again, brilliant feature. I was thinking of doing a maybe monthly game feature as well, but couldn’t decide how to do it, so I’m glad someone else was able to combine both books and pixels 😀

    1. I don’t play them so much now. I tend to play single-player PC games (I’m slowly working through my unfinished pile) or co-op games with a few friends online. That’s EXACTLY what I want. Just to be able to explore Hogwarts and hang around there, oh my god ❤

      Yes, read A Game Of Thrones! Such a brilliant series. Heart-breaking and rage inducing, but that's the best kind of book, right? 😉

      Yes, it does. It's based on the LotR books, with elements of Tolkien's other work (there are some things they can't mention due to licensing, it's a bit odd), so it has everyone in it, and don't expect the characters to look like their movie actors 😛 But wow, it's just so detailed. I kind of wish I still had it on my PC purely to explore – but I don't want to log into my old character and get plagued by messages from people I used to play with on there, as I won't actually want to play properly!

      Thanks Meg 😀 Well if you do some video game posts, let me know! Love chatting to other fellow book blogger gamers!

  12. I LOVE THIS NEW FEATURE! And yes, you should definitely post about video games. All the video games. It’s your blog after all 😀

    I would kill for a Harry Potter MMO. What do I need to sacrifice? And an ASOIAF one *____* If it was like the Elder Scrolls games I would probably die. There’s the sacrifice you wanted, game developers.

    I haven’t read the other two series yet but I plan to do so very soon!

    I’m only 100 pages into Mistborn but I would obviously add that to the list. ALLOMANCY.

    1. Yes! And recently finishing Bioshock has given me an idea for one of the next posts 🙂

      You’ll have to basically sacrifice your life because a HP MMO will suck us all into its world forever D:

      Like I said to Doug above, a Mistborn MMO would be amazing but it wouldn’t work if EVERYONE got to be an Allomancer. How would they decide who got to be one??

  13. Such a cool idea for a series! I’m not much of a videogame player, but I have played a few on Xbox and PS3/4. I’ve never done an MMO, but obviously I’ve heard of them. I think that the Harry Potter one and the Game of Thrones one would be AWESOME. I would totally want to play if those were a thing 🙂

  14. Where has this post been all my life? Please keep making more. I command you.

    I agree with you on Pottermore. It serves more as a reading guide to the books, rather than a actual online game. Do you know those Harry Potter PC games? It’s very well done, except you’re actually playing through the movies. I think it could easily be converted to an MMO and also expanded.

    I haven’t read the Lord of the Rings, but I’m in the process of watching the trilogy. Hmm, I would love to play a MMO based on The Stormlight Archives. OH AND also The Abhorsen series! But other than that, I can’t think of anything else at the moment. Bleh.

    1. Hehe, I plan on it! 😀

      Yes, I’ve played quite a few of the games! The first five, plus the Quidditch World Cup one. The first on PC was quite fun (for the time), the Gameboy one was awful, didn’t play lots of CoS but I think it was okay, PoA was actually partially sandbox which was great, GoF was AWFUL and OotP was okay. None of them have been outstanding though, and Hogwarts was never big enough 😦

      I did think of Abhorsen, but I don’t know how it would work – any suggestions? 😛

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