Top Browser MMOs for the Casual GamerMay 10, 2013
In an ever-busy world, people are looking for ways to stay productive without having to give up their love for gaming. Browser MMOs can be a good answer.
It used to be that I’d look at the time people spent on browser games and think, “why?” That’s not to say I looked down on so-called ‘casual gaming’. Rather, I figured if you’re going to waste hours in a game world, it may as well be in any number of higher quality MMOs out there.
But these days, I get it. Real life and adulthood has long-since caught up to me, and I can no longer spare the many hours a day it takes to level, raid, pvp, etc. And yet, I need that gaming fix, even if it’s just during that hour or two before bed. One day, I booted up a browser MMO game and suddenly, it all made sense. Wait, you mean I can set my character to auto-kill crap while I go do the laundry? I don’t have to choose between leveling up and writing that book I always wanted to? I can farm monies and gear while I’m studying for that test!? Sign me up!
I get how the typical gamer might be baffled by this, but in an ever-busy world people like me are looking for ways to stay productive without having to give up their love for gaming. This article is for them. Without further ado, here is my list of the top casual browser MMO games, in no particular order.
A Mystical Land
Believe it or not, you will not find Runescape on this list. Yes, I realize I’ve just created a dangerous vacuum through the collective gasps of surprise and disapproval from gamers everywhere, but Runescape does nothing for me. A Mystical Land, on the other hand, is far more my speed. The game is fairly open-ended, a plethora of quests meant as accompaniment to a game rich in crafting and exploring. It’s also one of the better looking 3D browser games out there, largely due to its exaggerated styles and bright, saturated world.
Wartune is my guilty pleasure, though it wasn’t always this way. The unfortunate truth about Wartune is it’s very much a Pay 2 Win game, the developers having no qualms about selling power to their players. It’s also highly PvP-centric, meaning those same players buying power in the shop will then turn you to mush with it. So why do I love it? Because it’s a highly communal game. Everything except single player campaigns, which are used mainly to advance the story, requires a team of 3-4 people to complete. So while those unfairly powerful players are bashing your face in, they’re also using that same power to help you through a game with at times brutal difficulty. Eventually, even without spending money, you will find yourself more than a match for those that do, but it’ll take a while to get there. In the meantime, find a guild and hide behind the person with the prettiest wings.
Dragon’s Call 2
Originally I was put off by the automated combat of this browser MMO game, but I got over that quickly for reasons I touched on briefly above. The nice thing about games like this and Wartune is that you are limited by what you can do a day. I know that sounds like a negative to some gamers, but for people like me who want to be able to play a few hours a day and still be on an even playing field with others who have more time, this is perfect. The graphics are lovely, such as they are, detailed 2D sprites animated against a hand-painted background with turn-based battles. I still wish we at least had an option to fight manually, but it’s still a fun game to futz around in for an hour here and there.
Ecol Tactics Online
Remember old school, turn-based tactical games like Final Fantasy: Tactics, Disgaea and Vandal Hearts? I’ve been looking for a long time for something to fill that void, and while Ecol isn’t perfect, it’s a lot better than its competition. Collect mercenaries, grow them and yourself, and fight through campaigns and dungeons using strategic placement of your characters and a combination of rather well-made skills using traditional (and beautiful) hand-drawn sprites. A highly addictive experience harmed only by its cash shop reliance, in gaining new mercenaries. While you can earn new ones purely by general gameplay, it’s done via random generation and has the potential to gimp you just as much as it can make you stronger. Hopefully this system will go through additional iterations over time until the developers can find the right mix of profit and gameplay balance, but smart gameplay and build planning will allow you to play on par with those more willing to drop tons on the cash shop.
Easily one of the more attractive and fast-paced browser MMO games available, Drakensang is a great game for those looking for that Diablo-esque experience in a casual wrapper. The game plays like the traditional action RPGs we’re all familiar with, get quests and bulldoze through dungeons, getting tons of loot complete with random attributes to keep you grinding for more. Despite the quality of the game, Drakensang remains relatively low on my list of games to play, namely due to the extreme cash shop reliance. Make no mistake, most browser games have this issue, but Drakensang takes it to new lows. Before long you’re spending far, far more than you’d ever spend on a P2P MMO, and the quality is nowhere near comparable. Fun here and there, but not something I’d dedicate my time to.
From the incredibly talented team at Artix comes a semi-MMO based off their most successful online series, Adventure Quest. Truth be told, Artix has some of the most fun browser games out there. They are fun and light-hearted, beautifully drawn and animated, and generally have a great balance of content for both free and paying players….except this one. I add AQWorlds to the list because, despite its issues, it’s still a great game. But there’s an unfortunate amount of gated content to deal with. Players should always expect to pay something to a game they’re enjoying, it’s only fair after all and we should be striving to support companies who offer products we enjoy. When the paid content is sectioned off into bits and pieces forming a very expensive whole, however, it starts to feel like death by nickel & diming. Regardless, still one of the better browser MMO games out there, and provided you don’t expect to get access to every single class, you can experience the greater majority of the game for little to nothing.
There are many casual browser MMO games out there these days, I’m sure some are out there scoffing because I skipped their favorite. But that’s part of the fun of games like this, trying them out yourself is just a click away.