Prose & Pixels

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

prosenpixels16

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

mmohpscreen

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

Leviathan

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?

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #13: A Game of Manicures

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my own feature, posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post!

Today I want to pick out some nail colours to match the A Song of Ice and Fire series!

I never used to wear nail varnish. But then I got a job where I could NEVER wear it, so naturally all I wanted to do was paint my nails. Now I’m working a different job, and I make sure my nails are almost always one bright colour or the other – just the other day I painted my nails TARDIS blue. Which gave me an idea for a post – nail varnishes that would fit with a specific series. A Song of Ice and Fire seemed like a great choice because of all the different house colours and sigils. So here are my choices, let me know what you think in the comments!

Game of Manicures
Game of Manicures
Game of Manicures
Game of Manicures

What do you think of my choices? Do you have any suggestions, either for these houses or any of the others featured in A Song of Ice and Fire?

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #8: Fancy A Holiday?

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my own feature, posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post!

Today I want to talk about: fantasy holiday destinations.

No, not places that you’d love to go on holiday to, but fantasy locations and what they would be like if you visited them. I’m not sure some of them are perfect holiday material, however… I’ve just picked a couple this time, as this Fantasy Friday may reoccur more than once. So take a look at this brochure, and pick your destination!

Middle-earth, from the works of Tolkien

middleearth

  • Climate: ranging from temperate to very, very hot and lava filled, depending on where you choose to go. The northern lands of Forochel and its ice-bays are perhaps some of the coldest parts of Middle-earth. For more information on Middle-earth weather, please watch this video (thanks to Ana for the link!).
  • People: You’ll find the hobbits of the Shire to be very accommodating and fond of a party, whereas the elves of places such as Lothlorien may be a little more… hostile. Dwarves may be a little distrusting of slightly taller tourists, but can definitely hold their drink and show you a good inn or two.
  • Language: the common tongue (Westron), Sindarin, Quenya, Khuzdul, Entish, Black Speech and many more.
  • Notable landmarks/places to visit: The gorgeous little town of Hobbiton in the Shire is sure to give a friendly welcome, if you’re lucky you might catch some fireworks shows! The Golden Wood or Lothlorien is certainly a sight to see, but difficult to enter. You might be better off visiting Rivendell, which is known as the Last Homely House and is much more open to visitors. Those into horseriding may want to give Edoras a visit. And if you’re a bit of a thrill-seeker, why not go whitewater rafting down the Falls of Rauros, or visit Mount Doom?

Hogsmeade, from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

hogsmeade

  • Climate: temperate, but it never fails to snow each winter!
  • People: no Muggles allowed. If you’re a Muggle, then – OBLIVIATE! Good, that’s all the Muggles gone. Hogsmeade is the only all-wizarding village in all of Great Britain.
  • Language: mostly English.
  • Notable landmarks/places to visit: the village of Hogsmeade is located right next to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a beautiful example of wizarding architecture: very confusing. Staircases never lead to the same place, rooms appear and disappear, and watch out for that Disappearing Cabinet! Within the village itself, there is Honeydukes, the infamous sweet shop; the Three Broomsticks, owned by the very lovely Madame Rosmerta; Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop, a cosy get-away for adoring couples and many other wonderful places. There are even rumours of a branch of Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes opening up soon!

Westeros, from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

westeros

  • Climate: variable, from the boiling hot desertlands of Dorne to the freezing North, and everything in between.
  • People: Westeros has many noble families with very delicate alliances, as well as lesser nobility. Much of the population is not quite as fortunate. And if you dare venture beyond the Wall, there are the terrifying Wildlings!
  • Language: Low Valyrian (common tongue), Asshai, Summer Tongue, very occasionally High Valyrian.
  • Notable landmarks/places to visit: King’s Landing is the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, and the Red Keep within is certainly a sight to see. For those unafraid of heights or after an adrenaline rush, the Eyrie is highly recommended. Far to the North lies Winterfell, home to the Stark family, and if you travel even further north you will come across the Wall, a formidable defense between the Seven Kingdoms and the Wildlings. And if you cross the Narrow Sea and leave the land of Westeros, you will come to Essos, home to the Dothroki horselords and many great and beautiful cities. And perhaps a few dragons.

Do you fancy visiting any of these places? Where would your ‘fantasy holiday’ take you?